Gardening with Allen

Your Guide to Vegan Leather Products

As more and more people shift to a more sustainable, cruelty-free lifestyle, it can be hard to keep up. Especially when it seems like everything you use is tainted by untenable practices. But, there’s no need to get overwhelmed, particularly when there are companies that strive to make a difference with their products from manufacturer to consumer.

Vegan leather, also known as “pleather” or plastic leather, is one such product. We’ve put together a quick guide to everything you need to know about vegan leather here, so you can start your journey to environmental sustainability.

Leather alternatives

Vegan leather has its origins in 19th century Germany, where it was used in place of then rationed animal leather, making it one of the oldest leather replacements. The most common materials used to make synthetic leather are polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polyurethane (PU) and in some cases, pineapple leaves, kelp and cork.

Monos is an affordable luxury luggage company whose core philosophy is all about mindfulness. Their wide range of backpacks and duffels come in vegan leather options and their suitcases are made from durable polycarbonate. With a lifetime guarantee on every purchase and free shipping to the US and Canada, they make sustainability accessible and worthwhile.

Durability and quality

Vegan leather is usually lighter in weight and thinner than leather. These qualities may make it easier to work with, giving fashion designers the liberty to design to their heart’s content, but this also means it can withstand a lot less.

Leather is known for its durability and longevity, with most garments seeing a lifespan of decades. Vegan leather, on the other hand, is prone to tearing and flaking over time, particularly when exposed to sunlight for extended periods. But, it’s a small price to pay for a more mindful means of fashion.

Look and feel

To the untrained eye, finding distinct differences between leather and pleather are not easy. Some vegan leather products look and feel more like leather than others. There are several different types of vegan leather and qualities vary from piece to piece.

And although there aren’t many noticeable differences between vegan and real leather, such distinctions come in breathability and the look of aging on the material. Because vegan leather is synthetic, it doesn’t have pores that allow for breathability. And unlike leather, which ages forming a patina, vegan leather does not have this quality.

Affordability

There’s no question that pleather is a lot cheaper to produce than real leather. Because of its long-standing reputation for aging well and having high durability, leather has earned the price tags and air of luxury often associated with its products.

Although vegan leather does not have the same weight in the textile industry as it stands, there are companies who strive to improve the value it holds as a cruelty-free alternative. It’s also a lot less expensive to produce, which is hard to argue against, especially where luxury is not something everyone can afford.

Versatility

What vegan leather may not have in its appeal to some, it certainly makes up for in its versatility. You can stretch, dye and shrink pleather to suit any design. It has been used to make jackets, bags, clothes and furniture. The affordability of this synthetic makes it an attractive textile for all craftsmen and consumers.

There are many advantages to considering vegan leather as an alternative to various leather products. And although there are some areas for improvement, as a whole, it seems that vegan leather is here to stay, particularly as we move toward more sustainable means of living.

Allen Wilson

Allen has been writing about gardening for over 30 years. He is a retired professor of Horticulture.

Comments